The groundswell of FUD lately arguably can be a cause for concern in GNU/Linux circles. Interestingly, one of the tell-tale signs whether that Web-based story you’re reading has all the hallmarks of propaganda, at the least, and more than likely is outright FUD, at the worst, is whether the site is sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Redmond death star.
So while clowns like Kevin Carmony keeps blogging about how he’s “improving” Linux with the help of Microsoft (waiting for the laughter to die down), more FUD makes its way to the ethereal Internet thanks to a new joker by the name of Alexander Wolfe.
Wolfe, whose “Wolfe’s Den” appears as the “Chips, Vista and Advanced Technology” blog on the Information Week Web site (did you notice the word Vista in there?), wrote in the latest installment on his blog that — horrors! — there are too many Linux distros to choose from.
He makes the self-serving pithy observation that, since there are so many distros, that “Linux is a forking mess.” As if we should only have one or two choices in computing, rather than the 300 choices of GNU/Linux distros (and those are the active ones) offer.
That’s because freedom — whether in computing or in the rest of everyday life — is about choice, and it’s unfortunate that Wolfe doesn’t get it. But then, most corporate lackeys beholden to the party line of their corporate masters don’t; or if they do, they wallow in hypocrisy while ignoring the truth.
Wolfe also operates under the false assumption that all GNU/Linux distros are all competing against one another for the attention of the average user. Wrong again, Alex: Needless to say the distros that are business oriented — your Red Hats and Novells — are going head to head to slice up the corporate IT pie. But distros like Puppy and Slackintosh competing for IT departments’ attention? Sorry, chump, even the greenest of GNU/Linux newbies realizes that this isn’t true. Pity you don’t — or refuse to — get it, Alex.
Also, the argument of distro-as-religion (Wolfe quotes an outdated story on Distrowatch.com) gets beaten to a pulp. That may have been the case at one time, but Alex seems to have missed the trend toward “distro polygamy” that permeates the current GNU/Linux zeitgeist. To wit: This blog is being written on a iMac running Xubuntu 7.04; next to it is a PowerMac G3 running Yellow Dog 3.0; across the room are two Dell Optiplex GXa machines — one running Linux Mint 3.0 Xfce and the other awaiting its install of Mepis AntiX (thank you, anticapitalista). So some may be beholden to one distro; many of us aren’t.
When you read something about how too many distros is a bad thing, especially when it’s written by a Vista columnist, you can be sure that propaganda is at the forefront. Please read it accordingly.
So, stop me if you’ve heard this one already:
In the 1950s — February 9, 1950 to be exact — Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin made a speech in Wheeling, W. Va., in which he said he had a list of 205 names of State Department employees “that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party.”
Fast forward 57 years and we have “Tail Gunner Steve” Ballmer with Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, playing McCarthy’s Roy Cohn legal sidekick in this modern drama, saying that the GNU/Linux operating system violates 235 Microsoft patents. Which are they? Microsoft won’t say.
McCarthy never named the names.
See a pattern here?
Sander Marechal writes an article on Linux News asking in an open letter to Novell to release the violating patents. While Microsoft may not be telling the public, they would be telling their GNU/Linux partner Novell. So Novell has the opportunity to come clean.
Anyone holding their breath? Well, don’t.
Here’s why: Tectonic, a South African open source news site, says in an article that Novell is distancing itself from Microsoft. From the article: “We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property.”
Linus Torvalds has weighed in at Information Week, saying that Microsoft has gotten it wrong — they violate more GNU/Linux patents than the other way around. Linux News backs it up by bringing up an article by Hans Kwint they published in 2005 outlining the patents that Microsoft might have violated.
So maybe the Washington Post is right when it says that this is all a smoke screen for the failures of Vista.
While Bill Gates tours China shilling Windows XP for the Chinese equivalent of $3 — thus putting a variety of software pirates out of business there — Charlie Demerjian of The Inquirer tags along, reporting a unique perspective for his publication.
Demerjian says the fall of Redmond’s evil empire is imminent and his story makes some very salient points.
Demerjian’s dispatch in The Inquirer outlines that actions speak louder than public relations. “With two overlapping events, Microsoft admitted what we have been saying all along, Vista, aka Windows Me Two (Me II), is a joke that no one wants,” Demerjian writes.
In other words: It’s official — Vista blows.
Dell knows this. They’ve pulled Vis-duh off their machines, putting Windoze XP back on their boxes, all the while still considering a GNU/Linux distro to offer customers. Normally, computer makers knuckle under to every whim from Redmond, but not this time. Dell backpedaled, Redmond be damned.
Combine this with Gates’ attempt to stave off Linux in China, and Demerjian may have a good point.